The second dimension of quality in the ABS DQF is Relevance. This dimension refers to how well the statistical product or release meets the needs of users in terms of the concept(s) measured, and the population(s) represented. Consideration of the relevance associated with a statistical product is important as it enables an assessment of whether the product addresses the issues most important to policy-makers, researchers and to the broader Australian community.
The dimension of Relevance can be evaluated by considering the following key aspects:
- Scope and coverage: the purpose or aim for collecting the information, including identification of the target population, discussion of whom the data represent, who is excluded and whether there are any impacts or biases caused by exclusion of particular people, areas or groups.
- Reference period: this refers to the period for which the data were collected (e.g., the September-December quarter of the 2008-09 financial year), as well as whether there were any exceptions to the collection period (e.g., delays in receipt of data, changes to field collection processes due to natural disasters).
- Geographic detail: information about the level of geographical detail available for the data (e.g., postcode area, Statistical Local Area) and the actual geographic regions for which data are available.
- Main outputs/ data items: whether the data measures the concepts meant to be measured for its intended uses.
- Classifications and statistical standards: the extent to which the classifications and standards used reflect the target concepts to be measured or the population of interest.
- Type of estimates available: this refers to the nature of the statistics produced, which could be index numbers, trend estimates, seasonally adjusted data, or original unadjusted data.
- Other cautions: information about any other relevant issue or caution that should be exercised in the use of the data.
For more information about specific terms described above which are relevant to sample surveys (e.g., "scope", "coverage"), please see "An Introduction to Sample Surveys: A User's Guide
To assist in evaluating the Relevance dimension of a dataset or a statistical product, we provide some suggestions of questions which might be asked below.
Suggested questions to assess Relevance
- About whom, or what, were the data collected?
- Is there a time difference between the intended reference period, and the actual reference period of the collected data?
- How useful are these data at small levels of geography?
- Does this data source provide all the relevant items or variables of interest? Does the population presented by the data match the data need?
- To what extent does the method of data collection seem appropriate for the information being gathered?
- Have standard classifications (e.g., industry or occupation classifications) been used in the collection of the data? If not, why not?
- In what form are the statistics available? Are they original raw numbers, or indexes, or estimates?
- If rates and percentages have been calculated, are the numerators and denominators consistent?